Olive Branch, MS asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Arkansas

Q: I have a friend who has a 15 year old son who is depressed & wants to go live with his father is this legal w/I court?

The two parents have a custody agreement with the father seeing kids every other weekend. The mother doesn’t communicate with the dad she communicates with the dads father instead. He pays child support & the son has mentioned self harm due to feeling like this is the way out of there. He wants to live with his father & the daughter is fine with the mother & actually doesn’t even go to visits with her dad much anymore. The son is 15. If the son wanted to just stay could he? Would the father have to make him go back to his mom when the visits over for the weekend?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Patrick R. Lee
Patrick R. Lee
Answered
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: If the father doesn't return the child to the custodial parent when his visitation period is over, the court could find him in contempt of whichever court order established the visitation arrangement.

However, it sounds like the son really wants to live with his father. It may be in the boy's best interest to go live with his father if he is this distraught over the situation.

Honestly, this sounds less like a legal problem and more of a social/psychological issue. I think both parties really need to assess what is truly in the best interest of this child before doing anything rash.

Stewart Whaley agrees with this answer

Stewart Whaley
Stewart Whaley
Answered
  • North Little Rock, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: I agree with Patrick.

Also, even though he is 15, a parent willing to put a child on the stand to testify in a mom vs. dad situation is not going to score well with the judge. Best if this can be agreed without a hearing.

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